All Questions

6
votes
1answer
4k views

How to measure the altitude and azimuth of a star?

Given that the star is crossing the local meridian line in a certain location, I've tried calculating the altitude of a star by finding the difference between the declination of the star and the ...
10
votes
1answer
91 views

Is there a pattern between the mass of a body and the mass of orbiting objects around it?

I was looking at Wikipedia's Solar system page, and it says that Sun represents 99.86% of the whole solar system mass. I found that pretty huge. So i calculated ratio of masses : Earth / (Earth + ...
8
votes
2answers
836 views

Why do the planets in the Solar system stay in the same orbital plane?

An earlier question addressed why all planets formed in the same orbital plane, but how is this angle maintained? What prevents the planets from taking on a different orbital plane?
12
votes
1answer
2k views

How do people measure the distance between the Earth and The Moon?

How do people measure the distance between the Earth and The Moon? What methods were used? Where can I find the official data?
12
votes
2answers
275 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Titan has retained its atmosphere?

Titan (moon of Saturn) is unique in that it possesses a very thick atmosphere. However, Titan is certainly is not the largest of the moons - Ganymede being larger. What is the current accepted ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

How to build a powerful home made telescope [closed]

Simple, I fell in love with the sky when my parents were constructing our new house I was a kid then and one day I ventured out on the terrace, to my amazement it was a full moon, ever since I've felt ...
1
vote
3answers
885 views

What is the formula to figure out how far away a star is? [duplicate]

I have tried to search for this but it won't show me the formula or "how to" figure out the formula. So what is the formula, and how do you figure it out? (The formula for stars within 400 light ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

How do scientists know there are about 300 billion stars in a galaxy and there are about 100 billion galaxies?

Just to think about this is mind boggling. But how do scientist get these numbers? What technology/system/theory do they they use?
18
votes
1answer
449 views

Are there any alternative explanations for the gravitational force we attribute to dark matter?

It always seemed counter-intuitive to me that we observed an measured a gravitational force and since the universe has not enough mass to account for it, the conclusion was to say there's a different ...
7
votes
1answer
639 views

Does anyone know why three of Jupiter's largest moons orbit in 1:2:4 resonance?

Three of the first four moons ever discovered outside of our own planetary sphere of gravitational influence orbit in very close to perfect resonance. Europa's orbit is almost exactly twice as long as ...
6
votes
1answer
228 views

Source of T Tauri wind?

What particularly causes the T Tauri star to eject the strong bipolar wind which clears the gases around the star?
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Could any known, living organisms on Earth survive on Mars?

No life has been discovered outside of Earth (yet?), but do we know if anything that would be considered "living" on Earth could conquer Mars? (or maybe Venus?) With the Mars One project on the way, ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

iteration to cover the whole sky with right ascension, declination, angle

I am sure I get parts of the terminology wrong but if anyone can shed some light in the following: I understand that for a given right ascension (RA) and declination (DEC), one has defined a ray (...
11
votes
5answers
652 views

How do you define the diameter of the Sun

That is, it's twice the radius where the radius is from the centre of the sun to some edge. But what is that edge?
20
votes
2answers
2k views

At what distance from Earth would our Sun be the same apparent magnitude as the next brightest star in the sky?

When I stand outside looking at the night sky, to my untrained eye, everything except the moon looks like a star. I know intellectually that some are planets circling our sun, and some are entire ...
9
votes
2answers
296 views

Find distance from star to star?

How do you find the distance from a star/planet/black hole to another? I know people can calculate the distance from Earth to a star, but what about from one to another?
4
votes
2answers
223 views

Has life been discovered outside of Earth?

I've just watched a movie that made me curious as to whether life has really been discovered on another world such as Europa??
14
votes
2answers
256 views

How was Io not torn apart by tidal forces during its formation?

Jupiter's moon Io is arguably one of the most volcanically active bodies in the Solar System. The reason, according to NASA's page Scientists to Io: Your Volcanoes Are in the Wrong Place is believed ...
12
votes
1answer
344 views

How do you figure out the magnitude of stars?

How do you figure out the star magnitude of a star? Do they just give it a guess or what? If not, how do they figure it out accurately?
11
votes
2answers
438 views

Could Venus be a source of Earth's apparent overabundance of water?

I've watched documentaries about the solar system, where it is suggested that Venus once had oceans of liquid water similar to those that cover most of Earth today. Venus is now in a period of ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

Could a cryo-volcano be the reason behind this colour difference in Iapetus's hemispheres?

Iapetus's hemisphere facing Saturn is dark, whereas the opposite one is bright. Could a cryo-volcano be the reason behind this colour difference in Iapetus's hemispheres?
8
votes
4answers
442 views

Without using absolute magnitudes or isochrones, how might we tell a star's age and evolutionary status?

Usual methods of estimating stellar ages involve isochrone approximations. It can also help to estimate a star's radius by correlating its absolute magnitude with effective temperature and apparent ...
13
votes
4answers
523 views

How would we detect an Earth doppelganger planet?

With our current technology, or technology available in the near future (up to 2025), how would we detect a planet exactly like our own, and how close would it have to be to be detectable? Which ...
4
votes
1answer
455 views

USNO moon images look quite different?

I visited: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/imagery/moon http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/time/moon-phase-images within seconds of each other, and saw two very different "current moon images": Is one of ...
6
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the maximum transmission distance of the radio signal in the outer space which could still be understood?

I’ll put this question in a form of a physics problem: Transmitter at a point A sends a signal to a receiver at a point B. What is the longest distance in light years from points A to B for which ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Does the radio signal decay when it travels through the intergalactic space?

When you emit the radio signal it starts moving at the speed of light. Radio beam is diffusing with each kilometer the signal has traveled. To the nearby receiver the signal is strong. But if the ...
12
votes
2answers
747 views

How are Galaxy Super Clusters Generated

I have seen pictures of clusters of galaxies, usually used in regards to theories of dark matter and galaxy formations. One of the most famous ones has the perceived shape of a stick-figure. If I am ...
10
votes
1answer
13k views

Calculation of right ascension and declination

I am confused about this problem: If I see an object from Mount Teide (longitude is 16"30'E and latitude is 28"18'N) that passes the meridian (azimuth=0) at 5h (am) UTC, and I also know that the ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Apparent size of M31

I am trying to understand something I read on wikipedia about M31. Wikipedia says that M31 appears more than six times as wide as the full Moon. But I remember that when I watched it naked eye it ...
12
votes
1answer
524 views

Why haven't asteroid belts turned into new large bodies?

If gravitation (attraction of mass) is the cause of the formation of all celestial bodies then how come the numerous small bodies found in asteroid belts spread over an orbit instead of clustering ...
8
votes
1answer
213 views

Climate modeling of exoplanets

These notes from an exoplanet talk discuss modeling the climate of exoplanets. How would we do that with our current technology? Would data be primarily gathered by spectrum analysis?
16
votes
1answer
11k views

How many stars and galaxies can be seen by the naked eye?

How many of the luminous dots that we see naked are galaxies and not stars from our galaxy? I imagine that the majority of the luminous points that we see naked eye during the night, are actually ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

How does one determine the effective temperature of a star from its spectrum?

Determining effective temperature of a star is in general a non-trivial task. Simple reason for this is that we can only study the electromagnetic radiation from a star, but not the temperature ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Is C/2012 S1 (aka ISON) the fastest comet on record to-date?

This source may be nebulous (no pun intended!) for some. It writes to say Starting at around 95,000mph at the start of this month, Comet ISON will eventually reach an astonishing 845,000mph on ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Escaping a black hole

I often hear that nothing can escape a black hole because it's "escape velocity" is greater than c. If that is accurate, what about the following. I know that the following has a lot of most likely ...
11
votes
2answers
229 views

Can protoplanetary disks form main-sequence stars?

As has been pointed out by @Envite in the context of a more general discussion (see Generalised planets?), there seems to be a moderate possibility for protoplanetary discs forming main-sequence stars ...
15
votes
1answer
532 views

What is the object in this photo?

What object is in this photo? View coordinates: $47.25103 \ \ 38.81697$ Time: $2013$-$11$-$23 ~21$:$00 +4 ~UTC$ Sony $A580, \ 50mm f/1.4 15"$
21
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is the observable Universe larger than its age would suggest?

The age of the Universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years, and current theory states nothing can exceed the speed of light, which can lead to the incorrect conclusion that the universe can't have a ...
9
votes
2answers
172 views

On analogies between gas and stellar systems

Analogies between (typically) ideal gas and stellar systems are not only intuitively valid to some extent, but have been established and used in the studies of stellar clusters and galactic systems, ...
8
votes
2answers
348 views

How well can we in principle determine $T_{\textrm{eff}}$ of a star?

This is a question about the basics of astronomy, which I have never happened to see a good discussion for. It is about how well would we be able to measure effective temperature of a star, if we had ...
5
votes
4answers
292 views

Generalised planets?

There is somewhat of an abstract way of generalising the notion of planets. Standard definition of planets is, obviously: "planets are the objects formed from the residual material surrounding a ...
7
votes
1answer
554 views

Does our universe have to be embedded in a higher dimensional space?

I've heard that our universe may be open or closed. If it's closed it might have a toroid shape. If this is the case, would that imply that our 3 spatial dimensions have to be embedded in a higher ...
14
votes
1answer
618 views

What do we know about the lifecycle of the Milky Way (or any other spiral galaxy)?

I know that the Milky Way will collide with Andromeda in the distant future but based on what we know so far there is a supermassive black hole in the center of each galaxy and thus the Milky Way will ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Doesn't gravity attract objects in space until they collide?

If the formula to calculate the force of gravity between two objects is: $$F = GM_1M_2/r^2,$$ why do planets stay in orbit? Or is there another formula at work?
12
votes
1answer
219 views

How can only 1 magnetic pole of the Sun change at a time?

I read some news stories about the current Solar maximum and the flipping of the magnetic poles. They say that one of the magnetic poles has switched polarity and the other will switch in about a ...
14
votes
4answers
501 views

How would I measure that I'm at a pole?

How would a person measure that he is at a planetary pole? My first inclination is to use a sextant to ensure that the Sun remains at a constant inclination. However, due to the orbit around the Sun ...
14
votes
2answers
956 views

Will Neptune be visible with the naked eye if I am standing on its satellite

Assume that I am standing on one of the many satellites of Neptune. Will I be able to see the planet with my naked eyes (without any sort of visual aid). If I was to stand on Moon I would be able to ...
18
votes
2answers
26k views

What is the distance that the Moon travels during one orbit around the Earth?

Also, does it always take the same amount of time, or does it fractionally differ on each revolution?
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is the interstellar medium so hot?

On this link, it states the following: "large assemblies of galaxies that are permeated by even larger amounts of diffuse gas. With temperatures of 10 million degrees or more". How are these ...
6
votes
1answer
390 views

Is lunar elevation at a given location for a given day unimodal?

Is lunar elevation at a given location for a given day unimodal: Unimodal function In other words, once the moon's elevation reaches a minimum (which may be above or below the horizon depending on ...

15 30 50 per page